Rover Jaguar has stopped production of the iconic Defender
for financial reasons that have little to do with European emissions
legislation or US safety standards.
There is still
a market for defenders and some utility companies are hording them
for use in the future. Emissions standards could easily met by a
different engine and it would be possible to fit re-engineer the
dash to fit airbags.
The problem with Defenders from Land Rover Jaguar accountant’s
point of view is that they don’t generate the same profit
margins as Range Rovers and Discoverys
which are – let’s face it – massively overpriced
Range Rovers and Discoverys are able to command this added financial
clout because of the ‘go anywhere’ prestige created
over many years by the Series and then Defender models.
have been hand built on the same production line in Birmingham
since 1948 and they mark the longest continuous production of a
vehicle in the world, surpassing Hitler’s VW Beetle.
The fact that
Defenders have always been hand built improves their build quality
but adds to their limited profitability. There are less than 30
robots on the Defender line and more than 600 on the Range Rover
line. Such investment cannot be allowed to go unused. Making vehicles
using people is obviously more expensive than robots, even more
so when you have already made the investment.
memories of a Landy and we can only hope that the replacement vehicle
is as versatile (or more so). Also, we must hope that it is made
on the Birmingham production lines and not destined for elsewhere
Note to Land
Rover designers: fit a cab that’s big enough for a normal
6ft 5in bloke to sit in without his elbow permanently out of the